Background Unlike general surgery patients, most of vascular and cardiac surgery patients receive therapeutic anticoagulation during operations. The purpose of this study was to report the incidence of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) among cardiac and vascular surgery patients, compared with general surgery. Methods The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database was queried for all patients who underwent surgical procedures from 2005 to 2010. Patients who developed DVT within 30 days of an operation were identified. The incidence of DVT was compared among vascular, general, and cardiac surgery patients. Risk factors for developing postoperative DVT were identified and compared among these patients. Results Of total 2,669,772 patients underwent surgical operations in the period between 2005 and 2010. Of all the patients, 18,670 patients (0.69%) developed DVT. The incidence of DVT among different surgical specialties was cardiac surgery (2%), vascular surgery (0.99%), and general surgery (0.66%). The odds ratio for developing DVT was 1.5 for vascular surgery patients and 3 for cardiac surgery patients, when compared with general surgery patients (P < 0.001). The odds ratio for developing DVT after cardiac surgery was 2, when compared with vascular surgery (P < 0.001). Conclusions The incidence of DVT is higher among vascular and cardiac surgery patients as compared with that of general surgery patients. Intraoperative anticoagulation does not prevent the occurrence of DVT in the postoperative period. These patients should receive DVT prophylaxis in the perioperative period, similar to other surgical patients according to evidence-based guidelines.
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